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Hard Contract

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Title: Hard Contract  
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Subject: James Coburn, Karen Black, Lee Remick, Lilli Palmer, Patrick Magee (actor), Kiyoshi Kobayashi, List of 20th Century Fox films
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Hard Contract

Hard Contract
File:Hard Contract.jpg
Trailer for Hard Contract
Directed by S. Lee Pogostin
Produced by Marvin Schwarz
Written by S. Lee Pogostin
Starring James Coburn
Lee Remick
Music by Alex North
Cinematography Jack Hildyard
Editing by Harry W. Gerstad
Release date(s) United States April 30, 1969
Running time 106 min.
Country  United States
Language English
Budget $4,070,000[1]
Box office $1,750,000 (US/ Canada rentals)[2][3]

Hard Contract is a 1969 film written and directed by S. Lee Pogostin and starring James Coburn and Lee Remick. It premiered on April 30, 1969.


Plot synopsis

CIA assassin John Cunningham, a cold-blooded killer with nerves of steel and no conscience, kills a man on election day, votes in the local election and spends the rest of the afternoon with Ellen, a prostitute. The next day, Cunningham goes to see James Ramsey, his mobilizer, a CIA man whose cover is a job as a college physics professor.

Ramsey offers one final, lucrative job, or "hard contract" as he calls it, that can allow Cunningham to retire from the business for good. This consists of three hits, two in Spain and Belgium, with the last victim to be revealed after the first two are dispatched.

On his way to Spain to make the first hit, Cunningham meets two women who will change his life: American tourist and jet setter Sheila Metcalfe, and her naive but good-hearted friend, socialite Adrianne.

He does kill the first two victims, but later, as remorse slowly takes hold over him, Cunningham can't bring himself to knock off his third target, former top CIA hit-man Michael Carson. A more vicious and effective hit-man in his day than Cunningham is now, Carson has become so passive, he wouldn't even defend himself.

Ramsey flies to Spain to persuade Cunningham to complete the job, and promises Cunningham that if he does not do so, he will himself be killed, and so will Sheila. Cunningham drives Ramsey, Sheila, Carson, and everyone else who knows about him back down a mountain, and is close to deliberately causing a car crash that would free him for all time, only to relent at the last moment, telling a confused Ramsey afterwards that murder is obsolete. Ramsey is then romanced by Adrianne, much to his bemusement, and it's unclear if he has also weakened in his resolve.

The ending is enigmatic, with Cunningham and Sheila running off together and beginning to make love, as Cunningham tells her that the worst deeds can be done for the best motives. The final image of them narrows to a circle around their heads, reminiscent of the image one would see in a rifle scope.

Subsequent release

Hard Contract was first broadcast on television by ABC in 1974. It was released on VHS by 20th Century Fox in 1982 in the UK and by Fox Video in 1996 in the United States.


External links

  • Internet Movie Database
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